The professional contacts every advisor should have

Advisors are hired and given a license to discuss at-length, a topic that for most people, is a pretty touchy one—money. As a result, clients often grow comfortable expressing other problems, issues or stresses they’re facing. How do you respond in those situations? Do you guide the conversation back to their financial world, or do you talk it out with them to identify potential solutions? It can be challenging to navigate, particularly if the client is preoccupied with the concern.

How can you help solve your clients’ non-financial needs?

You can’t be an expert in everything, but you can cultivate a deep bench of reliable contacts to draw from and share with clients. You likely count a number of entrepreneurs and business owners as clients and have met a variety of local professionals over the years. Are their business cards in your desk or digitized to where you can share them if the need arises? Becoming a resource for reliable recommendations can benefit you in a few ways:

  • Helps you do right by your clients, by connecting them to other experts, resources and businesses
  • Relieves you from needing to have all the answers
  • Provides clients with a good contact to help you return to the main conversation at hand
  • Keeps you connected with your community and local businesses
  • May result in reciprocal referrals

It’s important for you to have your professional contacts organized (preferably digitally) and to be prepared if clients ask you for a recommendation. Better yet, use your active listening skills to deduce when your clients could use some direction or a recommendation. You can say, “I hear you are having a problem with x, I happen to have a client who is an expert in that area. Let me connect the two of you after this meeting.”

Who are the experts and professionals a financial advisor should have in their contacts? Here’s my list, collected from hundreds of conversations with business owners, colleagues, friends and financial advisors:

Business services

  • Attorneys
  • Accountants, CPAs, tax preparers
  • Insurance agents
  • Bankers
  • Graphic designers, web designers, freelance writers
  • Entrepreneur/business coaches/life coaches
  • Bookkeepers, CFO/Controller consultants
  • Administrative assistants, travel agents, executive recruiters, human resources consultants

Health and home

  • Physicians and specialists, physical therapists, personal trainers
  • In-home healthcare providers, hospice agencies, elder care facilities, companions for aging clients
  • Home contractors, landscapers, painters, cleaners, interior designers, organizers, handyman

Life events

  • Event planners, venue contacts, caterers, chefs and bakers, photographers, florists, DJs
  • Funeral homes, mortuaries
  • Movers, estate sale coordinators, real estate agents and brokers, property managers, loan officers

Family

  • Nannies, babysitters, tutors, coaches
  • Pet groomers, dog walkers, pet sitters, veterinarians, dog trainers
  • Auto mechanics, barbers/hair stylists, electricians, plumbers

There is a difference between a traditional referral, a recommendation and a simple introduction, and you can work on your phrasing when you have the discussion with clients. When we are faced with a problem, or trying to find a reputable service provider, most people would welcome a warm lead over searching on the internet. If you’ve never used the service but know the person, be honest and say, “I haven’t personally needed to hire a web designer, but I know Jane could help answer your questions as she works with a lot of local small businesses.”

When you provide a client with a contact, make sure you call the contact to let them know and, if appropriate, give them a little background. They will likely be thrilled that you passed along their information and may be willing to return the favor in the future. Later, reach out to both the contact and the client. This will remind the contact that you were the one who made the referral, which could have easily been forgotten with the excitement of a new client. It may also make them more inclined to provide you with a referral down the line. When you reach out to your client, find out if they were able to connect and how it went. This reinforces that you’re invested in your relationship. By helping your clients solve their non-financial problems, you become an indispensable source for more than just financial advice.

When you refer clients to someone, they realize it’s okay to refer and will make them see you as a valuable resource. This could potentially make it easier for them to refer someone to you. The person receiving the referral will hold you in higher regard and more likely to refer you when the opportunity presents itself.

What other professionals and experts have you recommended to your clients?

The views expressed in this article are only those of Rob Richardson and are not necessarily the views of Franklin Templeton Investments and should not be considered investment advice or recommendations to invest in any security or adopt any investment strategy.

AUTHOR

Rob Richardson

Rob Richardson, CIMA®
Senior Vice President
Practice Management Spokesperson

LOCATION: San Mateo, California, USA
TENURE: 1995

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